News Releases & Articles

Cobra strikes Nostalgia at CRTC
Cobra Strike2.jpg

The Mississippi National Guard wants Veterans to sense how much their service is appreciated every time they drive past the Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport.


The 1108th Aviation Group is restoring an AH-1 Cobra so it can be among the helicopters in a display planned at the CRTC.


A section of the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command, known as the Program Manager Attack Helicopter Division, donated the Cobra to the 1108th.


“This is an AH-1S production,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Allen Letort, Aircraft General Foreman. “It holds 76 rockets or 36 rockets and eight Hellfires. It also has a 7.62 mini gun in the front and a grenade launcher.’”


Since its arrival in January, Master Sgt. Cliff Long has invested hundreds of man-hours into the rebirth of the Cobra, which arrived stripped down into pieces and without many of the needed parts. So the aircraft mechanic began reaching out for help from other units and Department of Defense agencies.


“Ive been fixing helicopters for 32 years,” said Long. “I talked to people who I hadnt spoken to in years because I needed parts.”


Some of that help came from the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation. Long calls that relationship crucial to the success of the project.


“Through talking to them, we found out we had parts they needed for their projects, and they had parts we needed for ours. So we ended up doing a big swap,” said Long.


The AH-1 Cobra is one of three Vietnam-era aircraft that will be on display. Others include a UH-1 Huey, an OH-6 Little Bird, a Blackhawk, and a Chinook


The aircraft will not be fully operational, however, they will look like they can fly.


“Were going to make it original just like it was ready for combat operations,” said Letort.. “We also plan on putting some shark teeth on the front because this is an attack helicopter. Its like a shark and its always in the attack mode.“


The hope is to one-day give Veterans a sense of nostalgia as they ride along Hewes Avenue.

    “Its truly a great tribute to those whove served in the Army,” said Long. “We have an immense number of Veterans on the Mississippi Coast. For them to see helicopters weve restored will truly be touching to them."

Revised: 1/9/2017 5:52